Lifestyle Eat

Follow the dragon

Written by Pai Yao

This article first appeared in the Jul/Aug 2015 issue of WGM.

Level 2, The Shops at The Boulevard,
City of Dreams, Macau
+853 8868 2822
Open daily
11:00 to 15:00 and 18:00 to 23:00

The Panda recently embarked on a culinary sojourn through Macau and after a busy week spent sampling all manner of curious cuisine it was Cantonese restaurant Jade Dragon at City of Dreams that lifted itself above the crowd.

It’s not every day that a restaurant boasting a Michelin star and renowned as one of the best in its field still manages to exceed your expectations. Yet the moment the doors slide open and you walk into Jade Dragon at City of Dreams, you know a special experience awaits.

The first thing to note about Jade Dragon is that it is beautifully presented, combining a distinctly modern feel through sleek finishes and dark tones with traditional Chinese decoration. In fact, it’s hard to miss the huge Baizi Cabinet – traditionally used to store different types of Chinese herbal medicine – on your left as you walk in.

The cutlery has also been carefully selected with jade napkin rings and jade dragon carved chopsticks rests.

Aside from the main restaurant, Jade Dragon boasts 11 private dining rooms of varying sizes and it was in one of these where we were treated to our sumptuous six course menu. These rooms are perfect for family or work gatherings and provide a real sense of luxury as the staff wheel your meals in from a hidden side door. Although our dishes were specially selected for us beforehand, we were also told that the waiters and waitresses take all orders by memory rather than writing them down in order to provide a more personal dining experience.

Jade Dragon might best be described as old-fashioned Cantonese with a modern twist and our first course reflected just that – a stunning trio of Jade Dragon Prime-Cut Barbecue Iberico Pork, Jade Dragon Dumpling and Steamed Kagani Crabmeat Dumpling. All three were full of flavor but for this Panda the Jade Dragon dumpling was particularly enjoyable with a burst of fresh ginger swamping the tastebuds the moment you bite into it.

Next on the menu was Double-Boiled Sea Conch with Dendrobium and Cordyceps Flower Soup. This hot and sour soup is a sight to behold and perhaps even a little intimidating for those not used to sea conch, but once again the intense flavor is impossible to resist and I quickly found myself sipping the last remnants from the bottom of the bowl.

More seafood was soon on its way – first Steamed Garoupa Fillet with Egg White in “Hua Diao” Wine, then Braised Vegetable with Fish Maw, Azuaga Ham and Turnip Melon in Beetroot Chicken Broth.

These dishes are the embodiment of Executive Chef Tam Kwok Fung’s food philosophy which sees him use traditional Chinese cooking techniques – steaming being one of his favorites – combined with carefully selected organic ingredients. To achieve the best results, his seafood is sourced from France, Japan and Southern China while the meat is imported from registered organic farms in Australia and the Netherlands.

By this stage our stomachs were nearing capacity but it was impossible to say no to one of the most surprising dishes of the day – Jade Dragon’s Signature Fried Rice – which it must be said is one of the finest fried rice dishes I have ever tasted with its array of intriguing textures.

Finally, our meal was topped off by Chinese Almond Crème Brûlée with Bird’s Nest and Honey which came with its trademark crunch as the spoon cracked through the top.

The Panda has eaten at many fine eateries in Macau and beyond over the years including a number boasting some of those highly coveted Michelin stars, but without doubt Jade Dragon ranks among an elite few to have left a deep-seated impression.

Chef Tam has plied his trade at restaurants in China, Thailand and Hong Kong during his long career but it’s clear Jade Dragon is the one he has been building towards. An experience not to be missed.